Bowie, Iggy or Bo-ggy combo ran the boozy argument. My friends and I were debating who penned the track 'China Girl'. A quick internet search later and we were none the clearer. The mysterious algorithms and search bots, which are supposed to know our wants better than we do, had conjured up an array of quasi-pornographic dating sites and adverts full of Lolita-esque Chinese/Asian women offering love for the price of a plane ticket, which had pushed our desired result far down the rankings. And before you start crying out about search trends and history influenced results pages, I'll take this moment to inform you that the computer's owner is gay and had never accessed such sites!
On the internet, regardless of your own good moral stance on gender issues or indeed your sexual orientation, it's a frequent occurrence to encounter this hyper-sexualised imagery of young Asian female identity, created by and for a Western male audience. Perhaps it is this or some complicated cultural echo left by the levels of prostitution which occurred during the horrors of the American-Vietnamese war and other 20thC Asian conflicts with Western fingerprints. Whatever the cause, a fiction exists that many female Asian-male Caucasian relationships are mercurially motivated. The sight of a Chinese girl with a white Westerner in a bar, especially if she is younger, is likely to lead to a derogatory thought or comment somewhere in the room. Deanna Fei, in a recent New York Times article, writes eloquently about being subjected to such interpretation when she lived in Shanghai with her American journalist boyfriend (who is now her husband).
These are real concerns for Chinese women to live with. But what about the Western male partner in all this? If you're white and dating a Chinese girl, you too face a barrage of prejudices, which are just as likely to affect an otherwise happy relationship. OK, you're no Johnny Depp, but it's not fair for others to assume that the only reason you came to China is because you couldn't date girls back in the West. And no, you're not some Asian fetishist either...you're just an average Joe who happens to be dating a Chinese girl who he likes or possibly even loves! The simple answer would be to say don't pay any attention to other people's opinions. But negativity towards cross-cultural dating in China can come from some strange quarters, and it's not always easy to make light of the various associations and assumptions.
1) Fellow laowai
By far the most common source of comment is likely to be from your fellow cultural compatriots, probably some racial-cultural slur along the lines of 'yellow fever', 'take away' or some variation on the theme of prostitution. I've also heard a vulgar alliterative couplet; passport (and something you might call a cat...). How you wish to respond is of course up to you but you might like to remind them that such attitudes only serve to reinforce negative stereotypes and encourage very real problems of sex tourism in some Asian countries!
2) Other Chinese
Sticks, stones, broken bones and something about names not hurting you might say, but this isn't always the case. A friend of a friend was once hit in the face with a wooden mallet by his girlfriend's Chinese ex. A potent mix of unrequited love and Chinese nationalistic impulse had combined to spur him to such violent action. This case is extreme but as a Westerner dating a Chinese girl, you should be aware that some Asian men might vaguely construe your relationship as a modern manifestation of Western colonial appropriation. If you encounter someone who might be sensitive on this front, behave conservatively in public limiting your physical contact (and while you're at it, check if your Chinese partner has any angry exes!).
One unlikely quarter of derogatory comment or open hostility towards your relationship might come from your girlfriend's parents. Their generation's assumptions about Western men's sexual lasciviousness and unfaithfulness might be more strongly developed as a product of old school anti-Western Communist Party conditioning in the 60s. If a long term faithful relationship with their daughter can't change their mind then there's probably only one sure fire solution to ease their worries – marriage!
A Final Thought
Cross cultural/racial dating in China will continue to be viewed with certain assumptions, misconceived or created through the bad actions of a minority of Westerners and sometimes, yes, Chinese girls driven by their financial circumstance. However, if this is enough to deter you from a relationship with a Chinese girl then it probably wasn't going to work out anyway! On the up side, in modern China it seems attitudes are softening and certainly in cities such as Guangzhou, relationships of many different race combinations are a common sight and rarely provoke comment.
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Keywords: Western men dating Chinese girls stereotyping of Western men in China opinions on Chinese-foreigner dating expats dating in China cross cultural dating in China
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175 Comments Add your comment
After being married to a Chinese girl for a few years, then divorcing, I stayed in China and developed my career.
But, I would never marry a Chinese girl again because they are all (99%) driven to cheat, steal money and find a way out of the country through a westerner.
I don't care what anyone says, it is true, girls only think about money not love or happiness.
Of course in China, there is no faith in anything, no manners, no shame. Chinese are brainwashed by their grandparents that there is nothing, no god, only to praise government. (lol)
Of course, that's why everyone on the mainland is a robot, trained to cheat and copy their way.
The counter-parts in Hong Kong don't want anything to do with the mainland and ignorant people that visit HK.
But, I like the money in China and I continue to stay, legally of course. Hahaha!
Hey, echinacities, I challenge you to post this but you probably won't because you are to subjective and only bow to the big boys.
Dec 31, 2011 10:31 Report Abuse
I honestly found your comment extremely offense. I am a Chinese woman, from mainland China, and I completely disagree with you. Just because your marriage did not go well does not prove that all Chinese women are in it for the money. And I know, "you don't care what anyone" will say, but I just want you to know that you are absolutely wrong and a DICKHEAD to say that about Chinese females. Why don't you just go back to whatever country you're from? China does not need people like you here. I'm glad you got divorced, now maybe your ex-wife can find happiness. Good riddance, you twat.
Jan 01, 2012 02:44 Report Abuse
China has much to offer and after traveling there for the last 4 years I have seen the changes first hand. Yes the Chinese women can be sweet, loving and caring. But they are also driven to to get what they want money,cars and a new home. It's a important to have a western husband.The problem is Chinese women can turn on you. They will cheat,lie and treat their husband with no respect even in public. Some of my western friends Chinese wife's would make passes at me and would not give it a second thought this includes Chinese women who have Chinese husbands. I asked one of the wives who was married "why do Chinese women cheat on their husbands?" She told me "well if I think my husband is cheating I can too". It seems that Chinese women compete with each. If a Chinese women has a new house,car,or a western husband then some other women must also have the same. Don't get me wrong I have meet and dated some nice Chinese women but it leaves me wondering. Is she the real deal???
Jan 01, 2012 04:06 Report Abuse
The real truth is that there are good and bad in both sexes and all cultures. My guess is that like in almost all cultures, young women have everything to gain and not so much to lose vs. older women who have experience and who have learned that love is more valuable than money. I believe that younger Chinese women and men for that matter, have not yet learned that love is far more than a wallet, a flat, arm candy and a throbbing in the loins. In this day, we all fail to realize that words mean little, but actions and deeds say everything. So, if you are a woman or a man in a relationship, notice and pay attention to the acts performed by the other and give less credence to words of love and promise. They are just vocabulary and emotions which respond to the weather of the moment and the day. It's the age of 'taking advantage of others'. Young Chinese women who have less income because of cultural influence of education and family expectations take advantage of older men. Older men take advantage of young Chinese women because the man has property and money in many cases. It's a matter of having something the other doesn't have. I don't know about you, but for me, 'being with someone else because they have something you don't have' is not the definition of love. Love is based upon sacrifice and devotion. Love and family matter most and those two ingredients of life depend mostly on acts and deeds between a man and a woman over time. After all, in the end, family and love is all you have anyway.
Jan 01, 2012 06:05 Report Abuse
jim you hit the nail on the head, idiots marry their prostitutes and then slander all women based on their experiences with just prostitutes.
i have met many women here who dont want to even leave china they just want a stable family. dont get me wrong, you have bad apples too, but i could spot them easily. they are the ones who order the most expense things on the menu, negotiate that you are to pay for things when they are out with you, ask you for a phone, take their friends out on your dime, etc. but the real problem is that many guys trip over themselves trying to impress a girl by buying her nice things, taking her out for expensive meals , buying her family gifts. then they sit and blame the girl. i dont care what your culture is, i'm not paying a dowry i'm not giving your family gifts unless it's christmas or their birthday . if you use money to attract women then you will attract women who are a attracted to money , that applies world wide. we as guys have always made dumb decisions for women (lust and love), but we must understand that we are in control from the beginning. ask the right questions and listen for the answers, observe their behavior closely and you will see red flags all over the place if the girl aint right
Jan 01, 2012 06:23 Report Abuse
Tall American Man
I completely agree with crimochina. I was dating a lady a year ago and when we went out shopping she always expected me to buy her everything she wanted to buy. I quickly ended that relationship. The lady I'm with now and who is also my fiancee, takes me out to dinner sometimes and she pays BUT she does give me the money so I can pay. You just need to have that discussion with the lady before you get too far into the relationship. Chinese women ARE very reasonable and responsible. If the lady you're with doesn't exibit those traits then it's time to go find a different lady.
Jan 01, 2012 07:29 Report Abuse
Thanks Crimochina for laying out some truth for the baby boy. As you get older it becomes simple to spot the good, bad and ugly in life; whether that is a gold digger or laowai friend who makes other laowai embarrassed to be a man as well as to be foreign.
Women, including Chinese, want love and respect just as much as anyone. Those in search of pure money have simply lost their way, and you'd have to be an idiot to not notice her warped set of values and needs.
And stop laying it all on the Chinese. The world is full of fear, hatred, bigotry and love; any country any time. When you find the girl (or boy) you love, hang on to them and make their happiness your goal in life. Because no matter the color of your skin or the size of your wallet, a good life is defined by how much love you share, not by the things you have consumed.
Jan 01, 2012 08:13 Report Abuse
Have you considered that you may be an ugly, unappealing asshole who, therefore, is only of interest to cheats?
Also, did you really just say "brainwashed that there is no god"? I'm pretty sure brainwashing is not required to have an absence of belief.
Jan 01, 2012 21:13 Report Abuse
While I understand your sentiment, and agree with it in many ways, I do not think you are Chinese. Your syntax and figures of speech are clearly Western, if not American. My gf, Chinese, is fluent in English, and familiar with American syntax, but I do not think even her blogroll will exhibit such natural vernacular.
The commenter above is obviously bitter. However, I can understand why he would say such things. There is some truth to what he is saying (particularly about HK). But all people cannot be defined by the bewildered masses. And every society has its misfits and boneheads and liars.
If a Chinese girl really wants to 'get out'- my advice is to be completely honest with the western males you encounter, and be yourself---I'm sure you have delightful lovely qualities that most men would fall completely in love with--when true to yourself-- and you might find the man to be equally pleasant and surprising. Even still, if you fall in love with a Western male, chances are you can't and will not get a visa anyway--especially from America--they know the game, and the tricks and are highly suspicious of foreigners, and these days, even more the Chinese. if you are not a rich girl with investments and incentive to stay in China you cannot get a passport--or emigrate to America. Catch 22.
Jan 03, 2012 01:12 Report Abuse
I feel sorry for you. what kind of response is this? You attack this bitter man in childish, under-educated, in a way that demonstrates your own vulgarity and below-par intelligence--while at same time, denigrating Chinese women by alluding to whores and prostitution.
Jan 03, 2012 01:19 Report Abuse
"other laowai embarrassed to be a man as well as to be foreign."
Are you foreign? I'm not foreign. I'm a man in a foreign country. You have succumbed to Chinese ethnocentric thinking. I have heard tale that many Chinese will go to a foreign land and call the people there foreigners. Chinese are not 'different'. China is not 'different'. its bigoted and selfish like everyone else--there are just more Chinese--a billion more. It sounds so mid-evil to call people strangers and foreigners. we need a new term for non-chinese in China.
Jan 03, 2012 01:36 Report Abuse
Great Wall of Nowhere
your response is typical of the mentality in this country that thinks all foreigners should be kissing asses like yours for being allowed in here. If you go to a western country these days you will be allowed to do whatever you like provided it does not encroach anybody and usually you will not be told to fuck off home. Despite what you think, China is a long way off the coat tails of those it seems to think it is standing shoulder to shoulder with.
In your case I hope you go to somewhere like London and experience the kind of racist shit you are suggesting to that guy who after all has only posted about his own experience and is entitled to his own opinion.
Jan 03, 2012 05:08 Report Abuse
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